It makes up for more than half of your body weight and it is essential for good health. Balance between water and electrolytes in our bodies determines how most of our systems functions, including our muscles and nervous systems. Our bodies use water to control body temperature, heart rate and blood pressure; lubricate joints; maintain a healthy metabolism; and remove waste.
We lose water each day when we go to the bathroom, sweat, and even when we breathe. We lose water even faster when it is really hot, when we exercise or exert ourselves, and when we are sick, particularly with vomiting and diarrhea which can make it difficult to replace the water we are losing.
Symptoms of dehydration include: little urine and urine that is darker in color, dry mouth, sleepiness or fatigue, extreme thirst, headache, cramping, confusion, and feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Our bodies are very good at masking mild dehydration so it is important to stay hydrated even when you are not experiencing these symptoms.
Although water is the best option for staying hydrated there are other options. Drinks like fruit and vegetable juices, and herbal teas can contribute to your daily water intake. According to WebMD, even coffee and other caffeinated beverages can be counted toward your water intake since caffeine’s diuretic effect is mild compared to the fluid that these beverages contain. Food such as soup, yogurt, oranges, and watermelon can count as well.
Different people need different amounts of water to stay hydrated, however a reasonable goal would be 32 to 48 ounces of water each day or drink enough so that you go to the bathroom every 2 to 4 hours. You may need to increase your water intake if you have certain health conditions such as kidney stones or bladder infections, are pregnant or breastfeeding, spending extended periods of time in hot conditions, when exercising, when you have a fever, have vomiting or diarrhea, or are trying to lose weight.
Some tips for staying hydrated:
- Try to keep a bottle of water with you throughout the day. Reusable water bottles can be an easy way to keep water accessible all day.
- If you get tired of plain water, try adding a slice of lemon or lime.
- Start and end your day with a glass of water.
What are your favorite tips and tricks for staying hydrated?